By Australian Council on Children and the Media
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This movie at a glance Move mouse over icons to see their meaning
  • Suitable for viewing by general population
  • Parental guidance for children under 9
  • Suitable for children over 9
  • Contains distressing or upsetting scenes
Genre Family
Length 93 minutes
Release Date 12/03/2017


In Raising the Bar, 16-year-old Kelly (Kelli Berglund) and her mother (Peta Shannon) move from America to Adelaide in South Australia. Kelly decides that it’s time to leave the world of elite gymnastics and competition behind her. But when Kelly starts at her new school, her new friend Nicola (Lilli Karamalikis) needs help getting into the school gymnastics team and Kelly reluctantly agrees to coach her. When members of the school gymnastics team see Kelly in action, they realise they might need her to win an upcoming interstate competition. 

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.

Elite competition; teamwork; friendship; parental separation; teenage romance

Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

There is no physical violence in Raising the Bar, but there is some bullying behaviour. For example, Kelly is called names by the other gymnasts, in person and online.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the bullying scenes mentioned above, Raising the Bar has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Kelly is upset and cries as she tells her mum that she thinks it’s her fault that her parents have separated.
  • Nicola really wants to join the gymnastics team, but a mean girl tells her many times she isn’t good enough.
  • When Kelly makes a mistake in her floor routine, she’s devastated and her dad is disappointed in her. 

From 5-8
Children in this age group might be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Raising the Bar has some mild romantic references. For example, Kelly finds a boy attractive, and they flirt a bit. He asks Kelly on a date.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

Raising the Bar shows characters using mobile phones and Facebook.

Coarse language

Raising the Bar has some mild derogatory language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Raising the Bar is about navigating the world of teenage friendships and family relationships within the context of a highly competitive sport. It will especially appeal to families who are involved in gymnastics.

Parental guidance is recommended for children under nine years, because of the movie’s theme of parental separation and its bullying scenes. Also, to follow the plot children need to be able to read the text messages and Facebook posts that are shown on the screen.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • being a good friend
  • learning to make your own choices without the help of your parents
  • being part of a team.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about bullying and peer pressure.

  • Last Reviewed 2017-03-16